Social platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are changing how business is being done. Instead of going to retail stores and sifting through isles of merchandise, consumers are shifting towards social media platforms to shop. Social media allows customers to get reviews from their peers, see what’s trending and have a more personalized shopping experience. With billions of active users on social media, there’s a large opportunity for businesses to integrate the social experience with their products and services. This phenomenon is often referred to as social commerce.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is the act of buying products and services on social media platforms. It’s a combination of social media and eCommerce that allows businesses to market and sell their products and services directly to consumers. Instead of driving traffic to their website, social commerce allows businesses to meet their customers where they’re already spending the majority of their time – on social media. If you need help getting set up with the technology and platforms in order to run a social commerce campaign, consider hiring a managed service provider.
Benefits of social commerce
Following are some benefits of social media commerce and you should work on this to maximize ROI and Brand awareness.
Increased organic reach
One of the largest benefits of social commerce for businesses is extending their organic reach. Social platforms enable you to create an account and publish content for free. As you consistently publish content, you’ll gradually build up a following of engaged users. The more engaged followers you have, the greater your organic reach will be. This ultimately helps businesses reduce their paid ad spend and acquire customers more cost-effectively.
With increased organic reach, you’ll be able to continuously market for free or at a low cost while simultaneously building your brand. This is a huge competitive advantage and companies can significantly improve their traffic by leveraging the organic reach of social platforms.
Quick product feedback
Social commerce also enables businesses to get rapid feedback on their products and services. By gauging social media reactions and comments, businesses can quickly understand what users think about their products. This feedback can help businesses make necessary changes to improve their product offerings until customers are satisfied. Additionally, social commerce allows businesses to take inspiration from other businesses that are leveraging social commerce well. You can quickly experiment with what other businesses are doing on social platforms and implement what works.
The best part about social commerce is the opportunity to have your product go viral. You can create virtually endless amounts of content and just one viral win can make up for all the other efforts. Platforms like TikTok and Facebook are exceptionally viral, so if you can solve a major customer pain point, you have the opportunity to go viral.
A great example of this virality is a product called The Pink Stuff. It’s a multi-purpose cleaning paste that recently went viral and TikTok and it has amassed millions of product sales and hundreds of thousands of 5-star product reviews. This product was first introduced on TikTok and its cleaning use went viral on the platform. Since the product got so much free organic traffic, the company didn’t have to invest as much into paid ads or other marketing that can cut into the profits.
Access to more analytics
Social media platforms also equip businesses with advanced analytics to understand their audience better. A lot of companies use custom apps and in-house software to get data, but social media platforms provide much more insights on their customers. This includes demographics like age, gender, interests and location. With access to more analytics, businesses can take the guesswork out of market research and give their audience what they want. This allows them to take a data-driven approach and improve their sales.
There are also additional market research tools out there that tell businesses what people are searching for on social media platforms. You can use a mix of social media analytics and market research to better understand your target audience and social commerce to reach them.
The best long-term benefit of social commerce for business is the ability to build a lasting brand. Social media platforms allow smaller businesses to compete and win against larger businesses that are not social media savvy. If you can produce quality content, social media provides you with a global platform to share it and build a following. The ability to build a brand will allow you to have unique competitive advantages like social proof, premium pricing, brand equity and trust.
A great example of a company that uses social media well for brand building is Ben & Jerry’s. This ice cream company has amassed 8 million Facebook followers, 500,000 Twitter followers and millions of other followers on other social platforms. They’ve done this primarily by highlighting their core company values like altruism and community in their social media. Whenever there’s a relevant social cause, Ben & Jerry’s takes the time and effort to partner with their community on social media. As a result, they’ve built a very passionate and engaged social media following.
Direct to consumer
Social commerce also enables businesses to go direct to consumers instead of using a middle-man or service. With social commerce, companies can tailor their brand and product experience to fit the needs of their consumer base. Consumers on social platforms often provide quick feedback regarding their social commerce experiences. This feedback can be used to improve the social commerce strategy for a company.
Another key advantage of going direct to consumers with social commerce is the ability to use features like in-app messaging and chatbots to communicate directly with consumers. Instead of guessing what consumers want, companies can get first-hand qualitative data on what consumers want by directly communicating with them on social platforms. This enables social media savvy companies to take a lean approach and quickly release new products that their consumers want.
Mobile shopping benefits; source: LitsLink
In addition to direct-to-consumer benefits, social commerce allows businesses to fully take advantage of all of the benefits that come with mobile shopping. Mobile shopping is the backbone of social commerce and companies can leverage all of its benefits to target consumers better, get repeat purchases and improve conversions.
By taking advantage of mobile shopping, businesses can use features like in-app payments, push notifications and retargeting ads to drive mobile sales. Nevertheless, for smooth and hassle-free mobile shopping, KYC compliance is important. It’ll not only help verify the user’s identity but also give users an assurance that your account is genuine.
Mobile shopping also provides businesses with the ability to track consumer behavior data and understand how consumers interact with their products on social media platforms. All of these analytics and other features enable businesses to take a data-driven approach to social commerce.
A problem that many companies face when marketing is targeting their audience better. Most companies use general demographics to target consumers, but social media platforms have made it possible to target consumers much more accurately. With social media, businesses can target their audience by interests, behaviors and even geolocation data.
This social media targeting data enables businesses to create more accurate marketing campaigns that drive social sales. It also allows businesses to retarget social media users who have shown an interest in their products but have not made a purchase yet. There are virtually endless ways that companies can target and re-target their audience with the use of social media. The more targeting companies do, the more refined their data gets and this makes it easier to segment their audience further.
The current market is more globalized than ever before and social media has played a big role in this globalization. With social media, businesses can target consumers all around the world with the click of a button. This gives companies the ability to tap into new markets and grow their business on a global scale.
The globalization of social media has also lowered the barriers to business more than ever before. Virtually anyone with a social media account can start marketing globally and social commerce makes it easy to expand your customer base from your local region to the global marketplace. Different social media platforms allow you to choose which countries you’d like to expand to and you can start marketing and selling your products there. You can easily choose a logistics company to handle your international orders and you can focus on marketing and selling your products and services.
Modern businesses use some type of automation to power their marketing, sales, operations and other sides of their business. Social commerce takes automation capabilities a step further and you can use social media automation by automating tasks like social media posts, messages, customer service and more.
With a consumer-facing business, it can be very difficult to keep up with many customer service inquiries, shipping orders, etc. By using a variety of automation tools, CRM software, etc, you can automate many of the manual and repetitive tasks that take up the time and resources of your team. This allows you to focus more on revenue-generating activities and work on higher leverage activities.
Increased customer loyalty
A strong social media presence can lead to increased customer loyalty and customer retention. Since social media users use those platforms multiple hours a day, your business can stay top of mind by continuing to publish original content and targeting them with ads. When users see your content over a long period, they establish trust with your brand and they are far more likely to purchase from your company instead of a competitor.
You can also create social media loyalty programs to incentivize customers to continue using your products or services. With social media, it’s easy to keep track of customer behavior and preferences. You can use this data to personalize the user experience and make sure that each customer feels valued.
Companies doing social commerce well
The benefits of social commerce are numerous, but seeing examples of companies leveraging it is the best way to learn about social commerce. Below are two companies that have skyrocketed their growth by leveraging social commerce.
Starting a consumer-facing brand, especially in the food and beverage market, is no easy task. Prime Hydration is a drink brand started by influencers KSI and Logan Paul. The brand was launched on January 4th 2022 and it is on track to clear $100 million in sales in less than a year. With giants like Pepsi and Coca-Cola owning the majority of drink brands, social media was the only way a new brand could compete against the brand and distribution strength of rival giants.
The two influencers have leveraged their followings to grow the brand and it has accumulated over 250,000 twitter followers, 1.1 million instagram followers and nearly 200,000 TikTok followers. Prime Hydration does not have any physical locations and they’ve leveraged existing brick and mortar stores across the world to distribute their products. As the brand continues to grow its social media presence, it’s expected to increase their sales and market share dramatically.
When you think of Wendy’s, you typically don’t associate a large social media presence with the brand. That’s changed dramatically in the past few years with Wendy’s great social media strategy. Wendy’s has amassed nearly 4 million followers on Twitter and has millions of followers on other platforms. The brand’s net income has increased from $129.6 million to $194 million during this period of growth. By growing their organic following dramatically, the company does not have to spend as much on advertising. They can easily market any products they have without having to use paid advertising or sponsorships. Many B2C companies have started to follow this playbook to duplicate this dramatic rise in earned media.
These benefits and examples mentioned are just some of the reasons why businesses have adopted social commerce as a key part of their business strategy. With social media’s viral nature, businesses can reach a larger audience, connect with consumers on a deeper level, and scale their operations to a global level. To learn how you can better leverage social commerce and shopping, check out this blog post.